I read in Open Book (http://chapternext.typepad.com/open_book) tonight of how Jennifer is proud of her children, and it made me want to sing the praises of my three wonderful kids.
There are many reasons I am proud of my oldest child, my only son, and the main one is this. When he was in elementary school, he knew a small, sad-looking, dirty child, who was always being made the brunt of jokes and pranks by the other children. My son became this child's friend; though I could never see what the attraction was, or that they had anything in common. My son was also made fun of and lost other friends because of his dedication to that child. After 5-6 years, with no waning of the friendship, I asked my boy why he had decided to befriend that particular kid. He answered, "Mom, if I wasn't his friend, he wouldn't have any." At that point, I ceased to worry about it, and I was more proud of him than you might ever imagine.
A similar thing happened when he was in college. He and his roommate were hoping to pledge the same fraternity. This roommate was chunky, a "good ole" country boy from Down East in NC. The fraternity tapped my boy for membership, but did not ask the roommate to join. He decided to join anyway, and he went to bat for the other kid, trying to get the guys in the group to change their minds and pledge this kid at the next rush. They refused, and my boy left the fraternity and never looked back. He said that if they were choosing members on their looks alone, he didn't want to be a part of a group like that. There are other things that make me proud of him too, but these two stand out in my mind the most.
My older daughter has made me quite proud, and not just because she has 4 precious children of her own. She got a job at a local fast-food place at the age of 15, because she wanted to make "her own" spending money. She fell behind her classmates in college, and was able to make up the time lost by going to school year round until she graduated, working all the while.
Her first husband proved to be the wrong choice, and it took her a long while to make the decision to leave the marriage. We worried about her ability to find another good man who would love her and also be a good step-father to her 4 children, but she was as successful at that as she has been at everything else. Now, she is a step-mom to 3 great boys, and they all live together - 2 parents and 7 children. So far (after 10 mos.) it is going great!
My younger daughter has been a model child all her life and remains so to this day. After we named her, we were told that it means "joy" in Hebrew. I had not known that when I chose the name, but it was meant to be, since she has never been anything but a joy to us. She persevered through school and college (making excellent grades), and when she didn't get into law school right away, she became a paralegal and then applied to law school. This time she made it, and worked a minimum of 40 hours per week while in school 4 nights a week. I still don't know how she did it; little sleep, no social life, working 40 hrs. at the same time. She kept her eyes on the prize though and now she is reaping the benefits of all her hard work.
There are many reasons I love my kids and I have pride in them for different reasons, but this much is true: they are productive members of society, all making their way in life on their own two legs and their own earning power. They are ethical, compassionate, caring, and dedicated to raising their families to be the same. Some days, I could fairly burst with pride!